Wow! This is a wonderful collection of short stories that I hope readers will pick up and enjoy. There are several common themes threading their way through the stories including: societal gender roles, the competition among and between girls and women, the vulnerability and seeming powerlessness of women in many cultures and the ways in which they are able to rebel, pasts that once seemed laid to rest that come back to haunt… This is a book that is affecting and powerful. It is a book that makes you reflect. It is beautiful and horrific at the same time. I highly recommend this collection of short stories to everyone, but especially to women.
- In the first story “Refugees” why do you think the mother was so easily swayed to leave with the guru?
- Why do you think that Sammie ran away?
- What do you think the appeal of the guru was to all the various people who clamored to see and hear him?
- Do you feel the daughter was rebelling or conforming in going to work with her father?
- In the second story, “Man and Wife,” why do the parents feel it is ok to marry off their 13 year old daughter?
- Do you feel that the daughter rebels or conforms to what society expects of her?
- How is the statement “The benefits mature with time” important to the story?
- In “Bloodfued,” what do you imagine was the conflict between fathers prior to the murders?
- Why do you think Conley tries to befriend Izzy? Is she trying to befriend her or antagonize her?
- Why is Conley kissing Ernie so shocking?
- In “Old Maid,” how do the neighbors view the “old maid?”
- Why has she decided to live as she does?
- How does her past come back to haunt her?
- General Questions:
- How are men portrayed in the stories?
- How do girls and women regard and treat each other in these stories?
- How do sisters and brothers regard and treat each other in these stories?
- How do boys and men assert their power and control in these stories?
- How do girls and women assert their power and control in these stories?
- How are the pasts important in these stories?
- What are some rites of passage portrayed in these stories? How do they affect the characters?